“Cold enough for ya?” “Nice weather for ducks.”

Small talk is a valuable piece of our social interactions -- it can be a way of having a momentary exchange with someone you don’t know very well or a bridge into getting to know someone better by figuring out which deeper conversational topics might be of mutual interest.

In this episode of Lingthusiasm, your hosts Lauren Gawne and Gretchen McCulloch get enthusiastic about the science behind small talk: how we pick topics for small talk conversation, the fine art of media references from memes to movies, and our own tested strategies for dodging awkward small talk questions while keeping the conversation flowing, such as when you’re having a not-great time but don’t want to talk about it, and that ubiquitous linguist question “so, how many languages do you know?”

This month’s bonus episode is a Q&A with lexicographer Emily Brewster of Merriam-Webster! Gretchen and Lauren get enthusiastic about the process of making dictionaries, posing your patron questions to lexicographer Emily Brewster of Merriam-Webster. We also talk about how lexicography has changed since dictionaries went online and in the era of social media, and the extremely esoteric process of getting lexicography jobs. Get all your lexicography questions answers, as well as access to 45 other bonus episodes by becoming a Patron! https://www.patreon.com/lingthusiasm


Crash Course Linguistics videos are available now and coming out weekly! https://www.youtube.com/playlist?list=PL8dPuuaLjXtP5mp25nStsuDzk2blncJDW

Keep an eye out for them around 2pm North American Eastern Time on Fridays for the rest of 2020 (except a few holiday Fridays) and into early 2021. If you want to get an email each week with some further reading and practice exercises on each topic, you can also check out the companion issues of Mutual Intelligibility. https://mutualintelligibility.substack.com/

Become a Patron and get access to the Crash Course channel in the Lingthusiasm Discord to chat about each episode! https://lingthusiasm.com/discord

For links to all the things mentioned in this episode: https://lingthusiasm.com/post/637790657255227392/lingthusiasm-episode-51-small-talk-big-deal

Podden och tillhörande omslagsbild på den här sidan tillhör Gretchen McCulloch and Lauren Gawne. Innehållet i podden är skapat av Gretchen McCulloch and Lauren Gawne och inte av, eller tillsammans med, Poddtoppen.